Hello to all my Internet friends and nationalist comrades who follow my articles through Tsunami Politico online magazine. Here is a brand new one about current events in Mexico, largely ignored by the US media, which could lead to a full-scale revolt. Learn more about the real history of Mexico and how certain volatile trends seem to be repeating themselves. See if you agree. To contact me, see the item at the end of this article.
A NEW NATIONAL REVOLUTION IN MEXICO’S FUTURE?
By Harrell Rhome, Ph.D.
Truly revolutionary events are happening right now (late 2006) in Mexico. Significant forces are lining up to oppose the Powers That Be (PTB). But before we look at the possibility of a new Mexican revolution, it let’s look at previous ones. Mexico’s War for Independence began in 1810 bringing independence in 1821 when 300 years of corrupt Spanish hegemony came to an end. As in most of the Americas, all the Spaniards really left behind was the Catholic religion, destruction of ancient cultures, and the unfortunate traditions of a crooked third-rate bureaucracy. When they left, they depleted Mexico of her currency, promptly putting the new nation in deep debt, so the first years of independence did not go well. Mexico went through several regimes, including a self-proclaimed emperor. The 1836, Texas Revolution took away territory and focused the United States on the vast lands to its south and west. In 1848, the aspiring Mexican republic lost all its northern lands, one third of the new country, to the ever-acquisitive United States. Instability continued after the humiliating defeat. France and other European powers intervened in the early 1860s because of massive unpaid debts. This eventually placed Maximilian, an Austrian Hapsburg Prince, on the throne as emperor with a European-style court. While some Mexicans welcomed him, most did not as he displaced a legitimate but somewhat ineffective administration led by Benito Juarez, a Zapotec Indian. French forces, including the Foreign Legion, were defeated in several major engagements, the decisive one being the Cinco de Mayo 1862 Battle of Puebla. The French eventually withdrew, but the idealistic and foolish Maximilian did not, later dying by firing squad. The republic was restored in 1867.
It was during this struggle that Porfirio Diaz came into prominence as a competent and inspiring military officer and strategist. He was so proficient that Maximilian offered him command of the imperial army. General Diaz refused, casting his lot with Benito Juarez and the forces seeking to overthrow the imposed monarchy and restore the republic. An ambitious and forward-thinking man, Diaz ran for president, but did not succeed. He claimed electoral fraud, ironically later to be his regime’s trademark. Diaz launched a coup from Oaxaca, planned in the USA at Brownsville and New Orleans, appointing himself president in 1876. He later stepped down allowing a crony to hold office, but later took direct power again. President Diaz did not at all fit the image of a tinhorn banana republic dictator, and for good reasons. Regardless of whatever else may be said about him, his era marks the modernization of Mexico. Great public buildings, many still in use, were built. Also coming on the scene were modern railroads, port facilities, improvements in mining, and the beginnings of the petroleum industry. This era, called “Porfirismo”, was a unique time. Diaz was featured in the world press as an international celebrity. The modernization accomplishments, accompanied by large foreign investments, were highly touted as a success story, and he was a welcome guest of the crowned heads of Europe. He was a consummate politician and diplomat. Diaz sometimes surprised foreign visitors to Mexico City by inviting them to the presidential palace. My great-grandparents, Texas cotton merchants, had tea with him in the 1890s. The world press and money interests loved him, but it was quite another story for most of the Mexican people.
Even in the late 19th century, after slavery had ended all over the civilized world, more than a few Mexicans lived under an enforced labor system called peonage. Like the serfs of medieval Europe and Tsarist Russia, they were bound to the land to serve a master at will. Some of the works of the mysterious German author, B. Traven, deal with the oppressive peonage system and this time in history. It was a regime of “pan o palo”, “bread or the stick”. Either work for the bread you are given or feel the blows from the master’s stick. Porfirismo was great for the president’s political and military buddies, the rich and the foreign investors, but was nothing but a nightmare for millions of others. While the middle class in Mexico was small, many business owners, and some of the richer folk as well, greatly resented being held back by the corruption and cronyism of Porfirismo. By the early 20th century, the situation had gotten no better. If anything, it was worse. People of all classes demanded change.
Diaz had dominated for decades. Massive and obvious fraud, even more so than usual, in the 1910 election was the last straw. Opposition candidate Francisco Madero, an inspiring and intellectual political personality, was arrested and Porfirio “won” again. A combined force of populist revolutionary forces mobilized against the regime. This revolution began, really not so much with the peasants, but with the better-educated classes, smaller landowners and business interests. They wanted no more of Diaz, who had controlled their lives, their futures and their fortunes for so long. Peons didn’t like him either, but they couldn’t vote anyway, so weren’t involved in the controversy. When released from prison, Madero called for a revolt on 20 November 1910, later dubbed Revolution Day. While the revolt failed in the streets, it did have its desired result. President Diaz was no fool. He saw that his lengthy reign was fast coming to a close, and he no longer had enough solid backing to keep on. He left for Paris in 1911, dying there in 1915. Among other things, he is remembered for saying, "¡Pobre Mexico! ¡Tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca los Estados Unidos!", “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.”
Francisco Madero, a good and honest man, did finally become president, but was murdered in 1913 by Victoriano Huerta, a reactionary general. This led to a full-scale civil war. As in all dynamic revolutions, when the people are ready, true and brave leaders emerge. And they did. Most notably, Venustiano Carranza, Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa raised armies in the north and south. revolutionary army in the south did the same thing in the north. Many of the battles were fierce and powerful; some were even precursors of the trench warfare soon to come in the First World War. Americans began to seriously notice what was going on when Pancho Villa’s forces temporarily seized and looted Columbus, New Mexico, precipitating a mostly useless American intervention led by General Pershing, 1915-1917. Carranza became president, ruling until he was overthrown in 1920, leading to the Mexican tradition that the president serves only one term but chooses his successor.
Mexicans all across the political spectrum realized that if they were to have a prosperous nation, the violence must end, and toward this goal, a new constitution was inaugurated in 1917. This brought greater stability, but a degree of unrest and fraud continued. Land reform for the oppressed underclass was the byword and slogan of the revolution – Tierra y Libertad, Land and Liberty. In fact, some of the great haciendas were broken up and redistributed, but as is often the case, the Powers That Be (PTB) remained chiefly in control. Land reform was a positive accomplishment, but never brought about the other massive reforms that should have come along with it. Many of the same problems plague Mexico today, but are even more exacerbated by a rapidly growing young population with incredibly high unemployment. The Mexican PTB sought to further bring things under control by founding the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1928, whose goal was reflected in its name – to institutionalize and advance the reforms of the revolution. The next four decades brought stability and economic prosperity, called El Milagro Mexicano, The Mexican Miracle. The PRI quickly became a well-established political entity, bringing a rigid one party system. This lasted until congressional and gubernatorial defeats in the 1990s led to the big PRI defeat in 2000 and the election of Vicente Fox of the National Action Party, PAN.
While posing and pretending as a revolutionary party, the PRI never really was, remaining a convenient tool of the establishment. They always held elections regularly and publicly, but more often than not, the results were predetermined. Throughout most of its rule, the PRI covertly created several small, supposedly opposition parties to give the appearance of democracy and free elections. In truth, their tactics were astoundingly successful. The PRI held power for 71 years, even surpassing the Bolsheviks and the USSR. While not on quite the same scale as the Bolsheviks, it was sometimes fatal to oppose the PRI. This became shockingly clear in 1968 when over 250 demonstrators were killed in Mexico City by automatic weapons fire from special units of the military. In 2006, further documents were released on the matter, but former President Luis Echeverria (PRI) and others who might have been held responsible were essentially granted amnesty when an unclear statute of limitations was invoked to end the matter. Fox, who campaigned as a just reformer, remained aloof and uninvolved, just as he did with the escalating political violence described below. Six years of PAN rule really accomplished little in comparison with what was promised. Immigration to the USA continued on an unprecedented scale, as did the drug traffic, resulting in the “Colombianization” of Mexico. The nation is overwhelmed with drug money, contributing even more to a culture of vice and corruption.
The PRI is still a powerful force, but Mexico now has three major parties. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, styled as “AMLO” by his supporters, a former Mexico City reformist mayor, was the candidate of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), and was predicted to win over Felipe Calderon, the PAN nominee hoping to succeed Fox. The July 2006 balloting was reported as incredibly close, less than 1% determining the winner. The PRD demanded a complete recount, but a special elections court ordered only a small sample recount, quickly naming Calderon as the winner. Not only that, the court then ordered the ballots destroyed! AMLO and his followers refused to accept the results or the court ruling. Since the contested election, they have camped out and taken over the central area of Mexico City called the Zocalo. This occurs at the same time when other dissident forces are doing the same thing in Oaxaca. The demonstrators even prevented Fox from giving his State of the Nation address. But this was not the only insult. He was forced to relocate an annual celebration featuring the “Grito” or the Cry of the Revolution, a sort of Mexican rebel yell. Surprisingly, no major figures, including those in Fox’s own party, spoke out against what were obvious acts of disrespect toward the president and the government. Perhaps they already fear the power of a verbal, viable and very visible opposition. In November of 2006, Lopez Obrador and his supporters formed a “resistance government”, naming six men and six women to an alternative “legitimate cabinet”. If they ever were to take actual power, it would definitely work against international business interests. AMLO might ally with Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and others in opposing the hegemonic influence of the USA, perhaps using petroleum as a negotiating tool. Any and all of this would be bad for the ubiquitous PTB, but now that Lopez Obrador has “lost” the election, they hope all the protesters will eventually just go away. Only time will tell.
Regardless of what may or may not happen in the coming months and years, certain key preliminary steps necessary for a successful national revolution are already in place, evidenced by the fact that:
(1) The resistance is well organized, with persons from all classes and from all over the country. As in the days of Porfirio Diaz, a lot of people are fed up with the Powers That Be, and don’t want to passively take it anymore.
(2) They have a wide base of support, meaning that the movement has economic resources. Many groups, including the Indians in Chiapas with Subcommandante Marcos and the Zapatistas, are uniting together much as they did in 1910 to expel a corrupt gang of thugs.
(3) They have dedicated and capable leadership.
(4) The movement is not just confined to salons and meeting halls. Demonstrators took possession of key public areas in Mexico City and Oaxaca, showing they have plenty of feet on the street.
(5) Not only that, in street fighting incidents, they effectively resisted federal security forces. Water cannons and tear gas launchers were confronted by small homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails. So far, deaths have been few, but this could quickly escalate.
(6) On 06 November 2006, three large bombs went off in Mexico City at the PRI national headquarters and two branches of Scotia Bank. A coalition of five radical groups in Oaxaca has taken credit. Another explosion occurred 07 November 2006 in Acapulco, where PAN’s Fox and Calderon were to meet with business leaders. These were minor items in the US media, but signaled a significant riveting up of the growing tension between the government and the dissidents, again much as it was in 1910.
(7) If a violent revolt breaks out, there are plenty of weapons in Mexico, stockpiles already in place, and the usual cast of international arms dealers and drug cartels can easily supply more.
(8) The dissident movement is serious, well organized and well prepared. An alternative resistance government is already in place, set to officially begin on 20 November 2006, Dia De La Revolucion, Mexican Revolution Day, commemorating Madero’s 1910 revolt. A “Popular Assembly” in Oaxaca “expelled” the state government.
(9) As you see, there are several eerie deja vu correspondences between 1910 and now. Ongoing troubles in Oaxaca pose yet another as Diaz began his popular revolt there in 1876.
The recent events do not constitute a revolution, nor can we unerringly predict one, but the items above are undoubtedly harbingers of what might come. Events have already occurred that are fundamental steps for an actual national revolution to get underway. Students of world history and current events know that even a small incident oftentimes starts the dominos tumbling, especially when the political structure is already full of holes and beginning to crumble. Again, this is essentially what happened in 1910, and could very well happen again.
There are, however, a few things working against a full-scale revolution, and they all have to do with money. While the drug trade is Colombianizing Mexico (the violence and corruption is already crossing the border), it does bring a lot of money into the country. While most of it goes into the hands of various power figures along the spectrum, some of it trickles down to the people. While not enough in and of itself, combined with other cash producing enterprises, it makes a difference. Of course, Mexico has vast oil resources, a major source of national income. The other major factor fueling the Mexican economy, thus stalling the revolution, is the massive immigration to the north with uncounted billions of dollars returning south. Without this income, and especially if a large portion of the ten to twenty million (the real numbers are unknown) immigrants were to return to Mexico, there would be a national revolution in a short period of time. Neither the PTB in Mexico or the USA want this, so the borders and the drug trails remain virtually wide open. While immigration brings money to help needy Mexicans, there is a downside. Vast and ongoing immigration breaks up families and local cultures. Entire villages have virtually been emptied of men who have gone to the magic land in the north. Some return, but many do not. Massive immigration is not really good for Mexico or the USA, but the PTB in both countries well know that every young male going north is one less potential revolutionary when and if the time comes.
Other than about immigration, most Americans don’t care one way or the other about what happens in Mexico, and know little of its actual history. Moreover, the carefully controlled and contrived media does a poor job of following the stories. To learn more, find alternative sources such as BBC, Reuters and via the Internet. Follow the news closely and read between the lines. Mexico is crucially important to the USA because, for among other things, it is right next door, supplying our grossly demanding consumers with oil, drugs, cheap vacations, cheap manufacturing, fruits, vegetables and much more. If you are concerned about uncontrolled immigration and border violence now, what do you think will happen if a national revolution breaks out? Can the Mexican military and police handle it? Will the USA invade and seize the oil fields? Other questions could be posed as well, but enough has been said. This is all going to be most interesting, to say the least.